Did you know that there are only 20 weeks until Christmas? No that’s not an error. If like me you are yet to start planning or budgeting for your Christmas then keep reading. I have written this post with 20 tips you can implement now to help you get prepared for Christmas and hopefully save some money as well.
- Start a Christmas Savings Tracker –
If you’ve been following me for a while then you would know that I love visual trackers. The ones you print out and colour in as you reach your savings or investing goals. So I’ve created a free one for you to download to help you track your Christmas Savings.
It’s super easy to use. Simply decide how much you need to save for Christmas, then divide it by 20. This will give you the amount you need to save each week.
Example: I want to save $400 for Christmas.
$400 / (divided by) 20 (The amount of weeks until Christmas) = $20 per week
I need to save $20 per week for 20 weeks to reach my goal of $400 by Christmas.
After you print the tracker out and place it on your fridge you simply write your goal savings amount in the blank goal area. Then you write the value of each weekly star in the blank section (eg $20 a week).
Each week you then colour in a star each time you make a transfer to your Christmas Account (See Tip 2 below)
- Set up a designated Christmas Account
Once you’ve set up your Christmas Savings Goal amount and have your tracker printed for your fridge it’s now time to set up your Christmas Account. Your Christmas Account should be a separate account to your everyday banking accounts where you can automate the weekly transfers of funds to this account. I find UP Bank is great for this as you can create additional goal savings accounts, and the round up feature is helpful in encouraging you to save even more than your goal.
- Buy one extra Christmas food item each week in your shopping
Each week when you do your weekly food shopping buy one extra food item that you will use during Christmas. Then put it into a box or 2nd fridge/freezer (hidden away) so by the time Christmas comes you already have a good collection of food. Only thing to remember is to make sure you purchase items that have a long shelf life.
- Make a Present List
Make a list of who you will be buying presents for in advance. If you write a present list rather than heading to the shops aimlessly you will reduce the risk of impulse purchases, and by taking the time to decide on a present you might end up giving that special person in your life something they will appreciate more.
- Shop Online, Do a Price Comparison check and use Coupons
We are in the middle of a Pandemic so it’s a great reason to avoid the shops and do your Christmas shopping online. The added benefit of online shopping is that you can do a price comparison through your preferred search engines before a purchase. Lastly as an extra saving use an automatic coupon finding extension like Honey for your purchases. Honey automatically finds and applies coupon codes on 40,000+ popular sites.
- Use Cashbacks
In addition to tip number 5 make sure you don’t forget to use cashback rewards (use the referral links below to save even more). Cashback rewards work by you utilising a link from a cashback website (rather than a direct link to the retailer). The retailer still sells you your item, as normal, but they will send the cashback site a portion of the profits, and the cashback site forwards a percentage of that money back to you. There is no cost to you to use this service.
Cash Rewards (cashback rewards program) – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction of $20 or more.
ShopBack (cashback rewards program) – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction.
- Homemade Presents
I love homemade presents so much, and prefer something someone has made me personally than a store purchased item any day. Homemade doesn’t have to be overly time consuming either. I have in the past made homemade gifts like Vanilla Essence, Biscuits, or even Irish Cream Bailys (all of which didn’t take a lot of time to make). There are so many great ideas for homemade presents on Pinterest (click here for the search results for Homemade Presents).
- Presence over Presents
We have a no adult gift rule in our home. My husband and I are super busy and the one thing we love about Christmas is that we get to spend time with our family and friends. It might sound sappy but the older I get the less I care about consumer items, and the best present is spending time with the people I love. The exception to this for us is when someone hosts an event for Christmas, and we will provide a hosting gift. The added bonus of this tip is that you don’t end up giving or receiving gifts that end up contributing to landfill.
- Second hand isn’t Second Best
A few years ago my son was into dinosaurs in a big way, and so I naturally planned to buy him some dinosaurs for Christmas. At the time the popular toys were superheroes, and as a result there were very little choices in regards to dinosaurs. So I decided to head online via Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, and I found a local lady selling a huge box of her son’s old dinosaur toys. I snapped up the box for $30, washed them and bought colourful gift boxes to put them in. I then placed them under the tree at Christmas, and my son loved them. He didn’t care that they weren’t new in fact I don’t think he even realised.
- Plan your Christmas Lunch / Dinner Menu in advance
I’m not sure about you but the most expensive part of Christmas for us is the food. We swap our frugal staple meals for some ultra special and gourmet Christmas items (such as a nice bottle of French Champagne, and fancy seafood). I believe that planning your Christmas menu (and shopping list) in advance can save you a tonne of money, because you don’t over purchase and you can keep on the lookout for specials in the weeks/months before Christmas.
- Start a Christmas Savings Account
If you have issues with dipping into the savings you have set aside then a Christmas Savings Account could be a good way to remove the temptation of withdrawing it. I don’t personally use a Christmas Savings Account so I have not included any recommendations or links. There are quite a few out there so when you do search for it via your search engine make sure to check on things like accessibility of funds, interest rate, and terms and conditions.
12. Skip the Traditional Pine Tree
This tip is controversial so feel free to skip it. We love getting a real pine tree each year, but due to a shortage in our state real Christmas trees are costing well over $120 (and the quality is lacking). So instead we are thinking of skipping the pine tree and purchasing an indoor plant from the nursery. It might not be as cool or hold as many decorations, but it will definitely be a talking point at Christmas (lol).
13. Ditch Christmas Wrapping paper
I’m not sure who needs to hear this but there is no rule that says your wrapping paper has to be Christmassy and match the decorations on your tree. Instead consider buying plain brown wrapping paper in a bulk roll, and use ribbons/stamps/drawings to bring them to life. The added bonus of using brown wrapping paper is that you can use it year round for birthdays and other gifts.
- Take your own Christmas Photo
The only gift I ask for each year is a Christmas Photo of me and my beautiful boys (including hubby). My husband is the worst photographer (of me lol) ….. and so having a nice photo of me and the boys every so often is the best gift ever. When the kids were young I used to pay for this every year, but as the price creeped up I just couldn’t justify it at Christmas time. So I have learnt how to take my own (semi) professional photos with me in it. Each Christmas morning after the opening up of the presents the boys all know that their job is to get all dressed up for our Christmas photo. I purchased a cheap tripod some time ago and I set it up with our camera on an automatic timer. We then take photos until we get the money shot (as they say).
- Ask Guests to bring what you need (and not whatever they want to bring)
If you are hosting a Christmas Event don’t be afraid to actually ask your Aunt to bring a cheese platter instead of that weird casserole that she likes to bring (and no-one eats including her). Be mindful of people’s budgets when asking for a specific item, but don’t feel bad for asking guests to bring items that you need and will be eaten.
- Enjoy your Champagne whilst still keeping Alcohol costs low
Alcohol is another area that can get super expensive at Christmas time. As mentioned previously I love a nice glass of Champagne, but I keep my alcohol costs low by doing the following:
- Buy a couple of nice bottles of wine and save it for the start of the day (such as for toasts). Then buy regular wine for when the good stuff runs out. Let’s be honest after a few glasses of champagne your mum won’t even remember she’s now drinking Yellowtail (this is actually one of my favourite bubbles for under $10).
- Buy Alcohol Online (click and collect) in the weeks/months before Christmas Day when your favourites are on special.
- Buy wine in a half dozen if possible as most retailers provide you with additional discounts.
- Use cashbacks when buying alcohol online to save even more.
- Use Loyalty Programs
The types of Loyalty programs on offer will depend on where you live, but being based in Australia I use both the Flybys Program and the Everyday Rewards Program. Both of these programs often have additional incentives and points to be gained in the lead up to Christmas. Make sure you download any apps related to these programs to ensure you’re notified of any new deals that might save you $.
- Save your Loyalty Points for Christmas
This is one of my favourite Christmas tips, and one I’ve used for many years. I save my points up for Christmas instead of using them as they accrue. This does take a little self control, but you’ll be thanking your past self when Christmas comes around and you’ve got a nice little nest egg of points to exchange into gift cards (or other items).
- Low on cash for Christmas, think about doing some market research
Sometimes saving money just isn’t enough when you don’t have any spare cash to save. With 20 weeks until Christmas you have time to sign up and do some market research (use this link to find a full list of market research companies I’m signed up with). The majority of the companies I use pay out in gift vouchers so I recommend saving these up until Christmas and exchanging these to pay for Christmas related expenses.
- Make your own cards
Lastly save money by not buying Christmas Cards, and opt to make your own (or skip altogether). This year we are going to use the kids artwork, but if you don’t have kids you could write your message on the wrapping paper itself. Get creative 🙂
I would love to hear your best tips for saving money on Christmas so feel free to add a comment below. If you would like to have more articles like this delivered to your inbox subscribe below.